by Tom McBride

Barbie’s Very Own Mindset List®

All Dolled Up

One of the great philosophical puzzles is called “Theseus’ Ship.” This ship over the decades has to be repaired so many times that finally there is not a single board left from the original vessel. Is “Theseus’ Ship” still THESEUS’ SHIP? It’s a question of continuity and identity—and it is relevant to the thousands of makeovers of Barbie Dolls over the past 6o-plus years. Is Barbie still BARBIE? You be the judge. Here’s a little list to help you decide!

1 Barbie is 64 but has never looked her age.

2 There are over a billion Barbies.

3 She has been on cable and streaming for nearly 20 years.

4 She and Ken might have a common-aw marriage, but likely not.

5 Barbie changes her hair color often, though generally stays with blonde or brunette.

6 She was inspired by a German comic strip character.

7 She is named after her designer’s daughter.

8 She was first made in Japan.

9 Her zebra-striped swimsuit was once a fashion statement sensation.

10 She used to look sideways demure but now looks feminist straight-on.

11 Her breast size has been readjusted according to tase and controversy.

12 Her pink shoes launched her film career ten years ago.

13 She has been a YouTube blogger for the past eight years.

14 The first live action Barbie film is imminent.

15 Her parents lived in Willows, Wisconsin, where for a while she attended high school.

16 Barbie & Ken have been back together for 12 years and may now be just friends.

17 Among her friends is Christie, an African-American.

18 She has both piloted airliners and served as a flight attendant on them.

19 She once owned a pet zebra.

20 There is an Andy Warhol Barbie.

21 She has been an astronaut and surgeon, summit diplomat, dentist, baseball player and much more in a diverse career that would be the envy of the imposter on “Catch Me If you Can.”

22. AS one-third of American judges are female, there has been a Judge Barbie.

23 Dream houses in her name have been built by Habitat for Humanity.

24 She has been variously called an inspiring role model and a dangerously unrealistic ideal of female bodies.

25 Barbie has generally been under weight.

28. But she has also been tall, petite, and curvy, though some children called the latter “fat.”

29 Her 1965 bathroom scale was permanently set at 110 pounds.

30 Among Barbies have been African-American and Cinco de Mayo.

31 The first Black Barbie lacked distinctive African-inherited features.

32 She has had up to 22 skin tones.

33 She once liked Oreo Cookies, but this proved to be unpopular.

34 A girl in Tacoma once pointed out that Barbie could not fit into the elevator of her dream house—adjustments were made.

35 University professors objected to her saying “Math classes are tough.”

36 There was a brief suspicion that Barbie might get pregnant by her adult friend Mitch.

37 There is an “Islamic Barbie” named Fulla.

38 In a Barbie book she accidentally infects her sister’s laptop with malware, leading to accusations that the tome was sexist.

39 There have been Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart Barbies.

40 There are at least one hundred thousand Barbie collectors, 90 percent of them women.

41 A Barbie once sold for nine thousand British pounds—a record.

42 Mattel makes porcelain Barbies just for collectors.

43 “Food Chain Barbie” ended up in a blender; Mattel sued the parodist and lost.

44 Jay Leno once presented a Barbie meth lab; no lawsuits.

45 Britney Spears has starred as Barbie’s sister.

46 Barbie has appeared in bondage clothing; legal opposition failed.

47 Barbie Benson has been sued for name infringement.

48 Someone once inserted Gi Joe’s voice in a Barbie doll.

49 Lisa Simpson once had a notable relationship with Barbie.

50 Barbie has been the most litigious fashion model in world history.

51 Barbie is an adjective modifying the clinical term “Syndrome.”

52 Nikki Exotica, the “Million Dollar Barbie” has had 12 breast implants.

53 Fewer human beings, apparently, have aspired to look like Ken.

54 Some studies suggest that girls who admire Barbie tend to have lower self-esteem.

55 She has few viable competitors, though “Moxie Girlz” might have come closest.


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